Speed is important for a wide receiver.
Ahmarean Brown has speed. A lot of it. The sophomore absolutely burns defensive backs that try to stand in his way. That’s what he did at the Ignite Showcase in early January en route to a WR MVP award. That’s what he did in the 2016 season for Tampa Catholic.
However, it’s not just about his speed – there’s more to the package, there’s much more that Brown brings to the table as a wide receiver.
Before we get to that, let’s talk on his hallmark, which is his speed. Brown made the finals in the Class 2A Track and Field Finals last May in the 100m dash, ranking seventh in that event. As a freshman. Brown has been running track since he was seven, and he’s consistently gotten better at perfecting his craft on the track.
“I’m staying conditioned through track. It’s about getting myself more in shape for the next football season,” Brown said.
The rest of the package certainly improves his ability to make an impact for Tampa Catholic and for college programs interested in him. Brown netted a verbal offer from Michigan State last season, just one of the four Power Five schools that have extended an offer. Those all came as a freshman.
Those schools like not just his speed, but also his ability to create space and make plays even without the ball in his hands. “I think my next best traits is a combination of two between route running and having soft hands. My route running really separate me from defenders. I know I’m able to catch most of the balls that are in my range with the skill set I have,” Brown said.
He was a focal point offensively in his first season with Tampa Catholic after transferring from Jefferson last summer, catching 34 passes for 399 yards from QB Austin Sessums, who had a down year (1,347 passing yards in 2016, 2,777 in 2015). Brown’s primary position was at slot, but that may change with the graduation of Darius Corbett on the outside. His numbers may not have been what they could’ve been, had things been different at Tampa Catholic this season.
Meanwhile, at Jefferson, QB Cade Weldon threw for 3,135 passing yards. Five Dragons had over 400-receiving yards in 2015. The Dragons had the same result as the Crusaders in the playoffs – a defeat in the second round.
Even though the numbers may speak otherwise, Brown doesn’t regret his decision.
“Jefferson is a great program, it’s a great school. However, to be around the guys that I was at at Tampa Catholic was worth it. I learned so much from some of the upperclassmen in Darius, Devan Barrett, Cory Leppert, and Bentlee Sanders was so good for me. They all showed me things that I wanted and needed to work on. Surrounding myself with that excellent talent was the best part of it all.”
That talent will graduate and move along in 2017. The lessons that Brown learned from them will stick for quite a while.
“We’re all brothers,” Brown said. “We all helped each other out and made each other better.”
Sessums will also graduate in 2017, leaving Tampa Catholic in the hands of sophomore QB Charlie Dean. He threw for 323 yards in limited time last season. They’re already working on becoming a solid unit.
“Charlie and Austin are both really good quarterbacks. We’ve been working with Charlie after practices and after school to really work on timing between us. He’s got a strong and accurate arm.”
Brown will try to help the team progress past the second round, where the Crusaders fell to a surging Berkley Prep, who will come back in 2017 to be a strong district contender. Tampa Catholic defeated the Bucs’ in the second game of their five game win streak down the middle of their season. “We went in thinking that if we beat them once, we can beat them again, and that’s what hurt us. The second time, Berkley was a much better team. It just wasn’t a good week of practice before that game.”
He’ll be back for vengeance in 2017, as the Crusaders will likely play Berkeley Prep, even with the new points system in place. His speed and ability to make plays will be a factor.
It’s now time for Brown to focus on a promising track season. He returns as one of the fastest guys in the state in both the 100m and 200m events.
“It’s all about improving in getting faster and getting better.”